Shaq Mason

Buccaneers Rumors: CBs, OL, RBs, Mason

In line with reports we’ve been following all summer, it appears that Tampa Bay cornerback Jamel Dean has seized the starting job opposite Carlton Davis, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. Dean was battling it out with Sean Murphy-Bunting who has held a starting role for much of his young career with the Buccaneers but whose injuries last season left the door open for Dean to make a run for the position. Recent reports seemed to indicate that Dean had the inside track on the starting role, but Auman was able to confirm it.

It was also discussed recently that if Murphy-Bunting was unable to win the job, he would only be able to come on the field in a backup capacity, since the Buccaneers would prefer to man three safeties in their nickel package this year. In nickel packages, Tampa Bay will use Davis and Dean on the outside with safeties Antoine Winfield, Logan Ryan, and Mike Edwards manning the rest of the secondary.

Head coach Todd Bowles spelled out the situation for Murphy-Bunting after awarding the starting job to Dean, saying that “he doesn’t plan on rotating his outside corners,” meaning that Murphy-Bunting’s playing time will largely come as a sub in both base and nickel packages.

Here are a few more rumors coming out of central Florida, starting with some more news on the depth chart:

  • After a frustrating offseason that saw Tampa Bay offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs deal with a postseason ankle injury, and an oblique strain once his ankle had healed, the 23-year-old finally got some good news. After he practiced the last two days, Bowles told the media that Wirfs was trending towards being able to play in Week 1, according to Andrew Crane of the Tampa Bay Times. Another youngster should be joining Wirfs on the line as rookie second-round pick Luke Goedeke is in line to start at right guard for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay doesn’t really have much of a choice with Aaron Stinnie and Ryan Jensen on injured reserve, but Goedeke will get an early opportunity to prove his draft-stock.
  • Despite his lack of experience against elite talent, rookie running back Rachaad White is drawing elite comparisons. The smooth, patient running-style that has drawn comparisons to such standouts as Marcus Allen, Edgerrin James, and Le’Veon Bell, has elevated White above Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Giovani Bernard on the depth chart, according to Auman. Tampa Bay realized that potential talent when they drafted him in the third round and they’ll hope to see some of those comparisons make their way into football games.
  • Tampa Bay got a little bit of breathing room in their cap space today as starting guard Shaq Mason agreed to restructure his contract, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The renegotiated deal will free up over $6MM against the cap this season for the Buccaneers.

Bucs To Acquire Patriots G Shaq Mason

One of Tom Brady‘s Patriots blockers is set to fill one of the Buccaneers’ open spots at guard. The Pats are trading Shaq Mason to the Bucs, Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com report (via Twitter).

Two years remain on Mason’s contract, which contains base salaries of just $6.5MM and $7.5MM. Mason has been with New England throughout his career; he was a starter on the final three Pats teams Brady piloted to the Super Bowl.

The Bucs are sending a fifth-round pick to the Pats for the veteran guard, Mike Giardi of NFL.com tweets. It is a 2022 fifth, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

The compensation is similar to the Bucs-Pats’ Rob Gronkowski transaction two years ago. Tampa Bay sent a fourth to New England for Gronk, reuniting him with Brady. After a retirement that did not even last two months, Brady’s return appears to have keyed some aggressive Bucs maneuvers. Ryan Jensen is back at center, and the team is re-signing top cornerback Carlton Davis. It should be expected Gronk will return as well.

Tampa Bay has seen its guard tandem of the past four years — Ali MarpetAlex Cappa — splinter, with Marpet retiring and Cappa committing to the Bengals. Mason has been regarded as one of the league’s better guards, making this compensation appear rather light given the low salaries tied to his deal.

A fourth-round pick in 2015, Mason moved into the Patriots’ starting lineup quickly. He started 98 games for the Pats over the past seven seasons. Mason signed a five-year, $45MM extension with the Pats in 2018. Given where the guard market has gone, that deal looks team-friendly now. It would not surprise if the Bucs addressed the contract at some point. This will be Mason’s age-29 season; his age-28 campaign ended with Pro Football Focus grading him fourth overall among guards.

The Pats have now seen their longtime Mason-Joe Thuney guard duo disband, with Thuney defecting to the Chiefs in March 2021. The two played together for five seasons. New England will create just more than $7MM in cap space by trading Mason. Trent Brown, New England’s right tackle in 2021, is also unattached presently. Michael Onwenu would make sense as a starter in 2022, given the departures of Mason and Ted Karras (Bengals). But the Pats have work to do up front.

Patriots Move T Trent Brown To IR

Trent Brown has not played since Week 1 due to a calf injury. The Patriots’ right tackle starter is now guaranteed to miss at least three more games; the team placed Brown on IR Saturday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Since his first stint with the Patriots ended, Brown has been unable to stay healthy. He did make the 2019 Pro Bowl, becoming the rare right tackle invitee that year, but played in just 11 games. Last year, a calf injury in Week 1 sidelined him before multiple stints on the Raiders’ reserve/COVID-19 list wrecked his season.

The Patriots reacquired Brown for a Day 3 pick but have not been able to deploy him much. As part of a redone contract, Brown is only signed through the end of this season. The 6-foot-8 blocker’s value has taken a major hit since the Raiders gave him a four-year, $66MM deal early in free agency two years ago.

In addition to Brown’s extended absence, the Patriots are set to be without three other offensive line starters against the Texans. Left tackle Isaiah Wynn and guards Shaq Mason and Michael Onwenu are out. Mason is injured but not on IR; Wynn and Onwenu are on the team’s coronavirus list. This will leave center David Andrews as New England’s lone first-string O-lineman available Sunday in Houston.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/21/20

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Matt Pryor

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Patriots Place Sony Michel, Shaq Mason, Derek Rivers On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Just as the Patriots took their two highest-profile players off the reserve/COVID-19 list, they placed three more players on it. Sony Michel, Shaq Mason and Derek Rivers landed on the list Saturday, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Michel has tested positive, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports (on Twitter). Mason and Rivers have not. Although Michel was on New England’s IR list, this is certainly a situation to monitor for the league. The NFL moved the Patriots’ Week 4 game to Monday after Cam Newton‘s positive test surfaced the previous Saturday and postponed the Denver-New England Week 5 game to the following Monday and then, after another Pats positive test emerged Sunday morning, delayed it another week.

Players do not have to test positive for the coronavirus to be placed on teams’ COVID lists; they can land on there if they are deemed close contacts of someone who has tested positive. The Pats took Newton and Stephon Gilmore off their list this week but still have multiple players on it. James Ferentz and defensive end Byron Cowart were already on New England’s COVID list.

Approaching 4pm CT Saturday, the Pats’ Week 6 game against the Broncos remains scheduled for noon Sunday. The NFL was aware of the team’s impending Saturday adjustment to its COVID list, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). However, the Pats did not resume practice until Thursday — after their game against the Broncos was moved off its Monday date — and canceled their in-person workouts Friday because of another positive test.

Michel has been on New England’s IR list since before their Week 4 game against the Chiefs; Mason missed Week 4 and was questionable for Week 6. The Pats will be down Mason and Ferentz from their starting O-line on Sunday, should the game remain scheduled. Rivers has played 21% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps this season; the defensive end has 1.5 sacks.

To help with depth, the Pats have elevated tackle Caleb Benenoch, tight end Rashod Berry, defensive end Nick Thurman and wide receiver Isaiah Zuber from their practice squad to their active roster.

Patriots Adjust Shaq Mason’s Deal

The Patriots have converted $1.75MM of guard Shaq Mason’s base salary into a signing bonus, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The move will create an extra $1.4MM in cap room for New England, giving them the space required to add wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to the payroll. 

Before the 2018 season, Mason inked a new five-year deal with $45MM in new money. That pact included a $12MM signing bonus, $5MM in incentives, and roughly $30MM in the first three years. Now, he’s made a simple adjustment on his contract to help bring Sanu into the fold.

Sanu didn’t come cheap for the Pats, but he’ll give Tom Brady another major weapon to help replace Josh Gordon. The Pats placed Gordon on IR on Wednesday with the belief that he will not be able to suit up again this year. Gordon, meanwhile, believes that he will be able to play again, so it’s a situation to monitor.

In other Pats news: the Patriots changed their minds about releasing tight end Eric Tomlinson. Tomlinson has not been released, the Pats say, so he may have a chance to build off of the season-high 38 snaps he logged against the Jets on Monday.

Contract Details: OBJ, Mason, Bengals

We have already learned a fair amount about the details of Odell Beckham Jr.‘s new mega-deal with the Giants, but Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv passes along some important information about OBJ’s cap hits. While his contract will provide New York with $3MM of cap relief in 2018, Beckham’s cap number balloons to $21MM in 2019 and will be between $15MM and $19.75MM from 2020 to 2023.

In 2019, then, the Giants could be devoting half of their cap space to just five players, and they are projected to have just $12MM in cap room in 2019 at the moment. That number will increase with several easy cuts and restructures, but Beckham’s contract will force the club to make a few difficult decisions, which Vacchiano explores in greater detail.

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes on recently-signed contracts:

  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports that Shaq Mason‘s extension with the Patriots includes $45MM in new money, a $12MM signing bonus, and $5MM in incentives. He also provides a breakdown of Mason’s guarantees, base salaries, and cap numbers (Twitter links).
  • Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Geno Atkinsextension with the Bengals includes a $13MM signing bonus, which is part of $17MM in guaranteed money. Atkins is also eligible for up to $500K per year in per game active bonuses and workout bonuses. Carlos Dunlap‘s new deal with Cincinnati, meanwhile, features $18MM in guarantees and several sacks escalators. Owczarski also provides the base salaries for both players.
  • Greg Mancz‘s two-year extension with the Texans, which kicks in after the 2018 season, is worth $6MM in total, per NFL insider Adam Caplan (via Twitter).

Patriots Sign G Shaq Mason To Extension

The Patriots and guard Shaq Mason have agreed to a massive new deal, according to Mike Garafolo and Herbie Teope of NFL.com (on Twitter). The new five-year contract includes $23.5MM guaranteed and can be worth up to $50MM in total. 

Mason, who will earn close to $30MM over the first three years of new deal, has greatly outperformed his status as a former fourth-round pick. In terms of new money, he’s now in the top ten for guards in the NFL.

At a rate of $10MM per year, Mason matches David DeCastro of the Steelers and Kyle Long of the Bears in terms of average annual value. That’s good for fifth amongst right guards, behind Zack Martin, Kevin Zeitler, Trai Turner, and Gabe Jackson.

Mason is one of the better guards in the game today and also has age on his side. The 2015 fourth-round pick turns 25 on Tuesday and should have plenty of quality football ahead of him.

Last year, Mason graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 9 ranked guard in the NFL. While the Pats have cast aside other notables such as Chandler Jones, Jamie Collins, Dion Lewis, and Malcolm Butler, they felt that Mason was worth the major expenditure.

AFC East Rumors: Mason, McCoy, Jets

Some key names appear on the Patriots‘ 2019 prospective UFA list. Among them are Trey Flowers, Chris Hogan, Malcom Brown and now Danny Shelton. But a mainstay on the offensive line is entering his Pats walk year as well, and given what’s happened to the guard market the past two Marches, Shaq Mason can expect to see a number of offers if he reaches the market. However, the fourth-year guard would prefer to stay in New England, Kevin Duffy of the Boston Herald notes. If an extension isn’t reached this offseason, Duffy recalls the Pats’ past Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon re-ups, Cannon’s most recent one having occurred in November 2016.

A 2015 fourth-round pick, Mason is only entering his age-25 season. The Pats have traded away key players in recent years and let others, like Solder, walk in free agency. But Mason (No. 9 among guards last season, per Pro Football Focus) might be a cornerstone talent the team will want protecting Tom Brady‘s to-be-determined successor rather than joining Chandler Jones, Jamie Collins, Dion Lewis or Malcolm Butler among Patriots discoveries deemed non-essential to the future. It would almost certainly cost the Patriots eight figures per year to retain Mason, but Solder being off the books opens up a high-salary offensive line spot on the Pats’ payroll.

Here’s the latest out of the AFC East:

AFC Notes: Mason, Herndon, Foreman

Zack Martin just inked a massive extension with the Cowboys, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com wonders what effect Martin’s contract will have on Shaq Mason‘s future with the Patriots. Mason is not on the same level as Martin or Andrew Norwell — who signed a similarly large deal with the Jaguars this offseason — but he is still a very good guard and should command upwards of $10MM per year when he hits free agency at the end of the 2018 campaign. Reiss is skeptical that New England will pony up that much cash for a guard, so this could be Mason’s last year in Foxborough.

Reiss also observes that other key players, like DE Trey Flowers and K Stephen Gostkowski, are entering the last year of their respective contracts, but he does not offer an opinion as to how those negotiations will play out.

Now for more notes from the AFC:

  • More details have emerged regarding the arrest of Jets‘ rookie TE Chris Herndon. Herndon, a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, was charged with driving while intoxicated several weeks ago, and per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, an eyewitness told New Jersey State Police that an SUV believed to be driven by Herndon was traveling at least 100 mph. Herndon’s SUV flipped after colliding with another vehicle, which caught fire, and the SUV slid approximately 700 feet after initial contact. Eyewitness reports are notoriously shaky, but if this one is accurate, it will not bode well for Herndon, either from an NFL or legal perspective.
  • The Bills‘ WR corps is pretty thin overall, so second-year wideout Zay Jones — whom the team selected in the second round of the 2017 draft — is generally considered to have a stranglehold on Buffalo’s No. 2 wideout job opposite Kelvin Benjamin. However, Jones has dealt with some issues this offseason, as he was arrested in March and underwent knee surgery, and new GM Brandon Beane said the East Carolina product will not be handed anything. During an interview with WGR 550 (via Ryan Talbot of NewYorkUpstate.com), Beane said, “He’s not just going to necessarily go right to the top of the line. He’ll have to earn his way. Part of that will just be just getting his feel. He’s only played with Nathan Peterman. He has not got to play with Josh Allen or A.J. [McCarron] yet. So that bond there will just have to form.”
  • Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle provides an in-depth look at Texans RB D’Onta Foreman‘s recovery from a torn Achilles, which ended his rookie campaign prematurely in November. There is still no specific date for Foreman’s return, and it is unlikely he will be a full participant at the beginning of training camp next month (even the 2018 regular season opener is up in the air at this point). However, the former Texas standout remains confident that he will eventually regain the form that made him a 2017 third-round pick and the heir apparent to Lamar Miller.
  • The Ravens have some depth along their offensive line, part of which is last year’s fourth-round pick, Nico Siragusa. Siragusa suffered a brutal injury last August, as he tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL. Of course, that ended his rookie campaign before it began, but as Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun writes, Siragusa was able to fully participate in last week’s minicamp. He will compete for a backup role this year and could soon become a starting guard or center if he can remain healthy. Alex Lewis, who also missed the entire 2017 season, is expected to start somewhere along the O-line this year — either at left guard, center, or right tackle — but he was held out of minicamp due to back spasms. Head coach John Harbaugh said Lewis should be ready for training camp, but the Nebraska product’s injury history will be cause for concern until he can manage to stay out of the training room for an extended period of time.
  • Tyler Matakevich, a 2016 seventh-round pick, will be given every opportunity to win the Steelers‘ starting ILB job alongside Vince Williams, per Will Graves of the Associated Press. Pittsburgh has a gaping hole at that spot due to Ryan Shazier‘s horrific injury, but the team is confident Matakevich is ready to take the reins. He will need to fend off veteran Jon Bostic, whom the team signed this offseason.